214 E 4th St. #302
Joplin, MO 64801
I graduated summa cum laude with a BA in sociology from University of Missouri
in Columbia. A few years later I earned my lifetime teaching certificate at UMKC
and began my career as a teacher. In 2004 I earned a Master’s Degree in
Education Administration from William Woods.
I taught for 9 years in mostly parochial schools from 1977 until 1990. My
husband’s job required us to move so I taught in several positions and locations.
In 1990 my husband and I moved to Joplin where we enrolled our 3 children in
Joplin Public Schools. I was the Adult Basic Education coordinator for Joplin
Schools for 4 years. I then taught at Joplin’s Park Academy for 1 year and at
Duenweg School for 2 years. I taught 5th grade in Seneca Schools for 2 years. I
returned to Joplin and finished my career teaching in the Gifted Program for 11
years. During my 29 years I taught from pre-school through 8th grade. When I was
the Adult Basic Education Coordinator I was in charge of the budget, hired,
trained and scheduled staff and worked with community groups to promote adult
education. The last five years I have been a substitute teacher for Joplin and have
logged over 2500 hours working in every Joplin elementary school as well as the
Early Childhood Center.
Currently I volunteer at the Webb City Farmer’s Market. Soon I will begin
volunteering as a reader for the blind and visually impaired. I am the vice
president for my home owners association. Every year I volunteer some time to
Bright Futures. After the tornado I worked on two CART committees to help plan
Joplin’s recovery from the tornado. For three years I chaired various committees
to get the Parish Center built for St. Mary’s Church. When my children were
younger I coached basketball and softball teams.
I decided to run for the school board because I have a passion for education and a
deep desire to help our children. I believe I could bring a unique perspective to
the board because of my extensive teaching background and my recent work as a
substitute. It has given me the big picture of how our district is doing. I believe
one of the most important qualities for a board member is to be able to listen to
numerous points of view and help form a consensus. As a teacher I learned to
listen with my eyes as well as my ears. One of my favorite sayings is, “Listen or
your tongue will make you deaf.”
Joplin students are getting a good quality education. I believe that Dr. Ridder is
guiding the district in such a way that education for our students is improving.
I believe that it is critically important to add the 10 days back into the school
calendar. I also believe that it is vital to raise teacher salaries and build an Early
Question #4/Prioritizing 12 items
#1 Salaries and Benefits – We must be competitive in recruiting and retaining
#2 Building and Grounds – Columbia and West Central need updating and the
Early Childhood Center must be built.
#3 Equitable Teacher Plan Time and Workload
#4 Class size
#5 & #6 Professional Development and Curriculum Development – These go
hand-in-hand. Teachers must be empowered to lead these.
#7 Technology - Our advanced technology in the classrooms is rightfully a point of
pride in our schools.
#8 Financial Reserve –
#9 Existing Extra and Co-Curricular Programs
#10 Reducing Local Tax Burden
#12 New Programs
Of course, all of these areas are important and deserve attention.
Higher salaries and pleasant working conditions will attract high quality teachers.
Teachers who are listened to and who feel empowered will stay in our system.
Teacher salaries in Joplin are not keeping up with surrounding districts. We must
find ways to raise the salaries. To do this we must first eliminate waste and make
some systemic changes to our school system that will make for better working
The administration is in charge of running Joplin Schools on a daily basis. The
teachers do the vital work of the district. They pull the weight. The School Board
is the sounding board for administration, teachers, parents and tax payers. School
Board members must truly listen to all constituencies and form a vision that
everyone can rally around and work to achieve. The School Board hires the
superintendent and works to ensure that everyone is trying to accomplish the
Race to the Top demands use of standardized test scores for teacher evaluations.
We want that federal money and we want to be a top school district. We should
use standardized scores but they must accurately reflect what goes on in the
classroom. Individual student scores should be compared from the beginning to
the end of the school year. Entire class scores should not be used. A student
could grow two years academically but still be behind. The teacher would have
done a great job, but the class score would not reflect that. It is a time consuming
and tedious job to correlate individual student scores with teachers, but it could
be done and it must be done if high stakes testing is going to determine teacher
evaluations. If the stakes are this high then the comparisons must be fair. We
want teachers to welcome all students to their classrooms not just top scorers.
Also we want top performing students to be challenged each year. They need to
show growth as well.
The Competency Grading System confuses many parents and requires lots of
documentation from teachers. Nevertheless it has several important positive
aspects. Teachers know exactly what needs to be covered. Students have a better
understanding of why they receive the grades they do so they take more
ownership of their learning. Also the language is more positive. A child can see
that at least in some areas they earned an M.
The teacher tenure amendment did not pass in 2014. I think it is important to
keep local control. Teacher tenure should protect teachers from being pawns in
local politics, but it should not protect weak or burnt out teachers.
Thank you for your time. I firmly believe that teachers and students are the ones
doing the vital work in our schools. By definition successful teachers have
successful students. I am a “mama bear” for Joplin kids. I want the best for them. I
know that for them to succeed their teachers have to succeed. I would appreciate
your recommendation and vote.